City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

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City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam
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Biodegradable cups (photo: wikimedia)

Last Tuesday, the City of Santa Barbara Ordinance Committee voted to ban the sale and use of styrofoam in the city. This Tuesday is the final vote.

A unanimous vote took place on June 12 as the committee agreed styrofoam contributes to ocean pollution. The final vote was put on hold until June 19 so they could consider adding an "ask only" regulation for plastic straws and cutlery. 

"We applaud the Committee for these decisions – it is an important step that Santa Barbara can take to remove itself from being a contributor to the plastic ocean waste epidemic," wrote Hillary Hauser from local environmental group Heal the Ocean.

Exemptions are being considered for businesses who claim "hardship" in discontinuing their use of styrofoam. Blenders in the Grass is one local company who states their smoothie products become "runny" in anything but their tall white signature styrofoam cups after they switched to plastic cups several years ago. The company switched back after losing revenue. 

In a written statement, Hauser explained how Heal the Ocean is against these exemptions. She cited the Kokua Foundation in Hawaii who learned their local juice company, as well as Jamba Juice, use compostable cold cups made of PLA (plant-based Polylactic acid) – made of corn starch and sugar cane.

Further, the activist group stated that Marborg, Santa Barbara's recycling and waste management company, cannot reuse or recycle styrofoam and it heads to the landfill. 

The ordinance meeting is taking place on Tuesday, June 19 at 12:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber of City Hall.

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susanmoore Jun 26, 2018 11:02 PM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

I think it is necessary to prevent styrofoam into the landfill, because styrofoam is recyclable. INTCO recycling can make it easier to recycle styrofoam,because of their original styrofoam recycling machine.
Why INTCO recycling has become a world-class polystyrene recycling company?Because INTCO provide total styrofoam recycling solution for all countries in the world.

a-1529484971 Jun 20, 2018 01:56 AM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

Have intended for a long time to check with Public Health, and a couple of restaurants, about bringing my own plastic or ceramic or whatever ware so that paper, foil, plastic and or styro is not used.

Anyone know if we can bring our own containers without restaurant owner or govt freaking out?

PitMix Jun 20, 2018 09:44 AM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

I don't think they will let you supply your own container if you are ordering takeout. They are not going to handle an item of unknown cleanliness. But if you want to bring your own container to serve as a doggie bag, that should be fine. We live in the most technologically advanced country in the world, with AI at our fingertips. I'm sure we can solve the styrofoam/plastic straw/cutlery conundrum wrapped in a riddle shrouded by mystery.

a-1529484846 Jun 20, 2018 01:54 AM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

I've been using bendy straws at home and rinsing them. I like using a straw, not sure why I started.
There are LOTS of inexpensive metal straws out there. I might buy 50 or 100 and pass them out. But you can buy ten at a reasonable price. I googled 'inexpensive metal straws quantity 10'

SBZZ Jun 19, 2018 10:07 PM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

Styrofoam is an amazing product, but it is toxic stuff to make and for the environment. Walk on the beach sometime along the high tide mark and look closely – frequently you will see little bits of the stuff and sometimes lots of bigger chunks. Ultimately it ends up in micro-organisms and then back up the food chain to guess who?! Plastic seasoning is not what I want with my fish dinner. This ordinance makes sense to me.

Eggs Ackley Jun 19, 2018 07:47 PM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

Channel Islands Surfboards, one of the most prolific surfboard manufacturers in the world, is not going to be happy but then most surfers merely give lip service to caring for the environment as they drive to and fro in search of a better break or jet across the planet in search of that epic lineup .

Eggs Ackley Jun 20, 2018 06:13 AM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

Au contraire, about 30% of boards today have EPS cores( expanded polystyrene ). It makes for a lighter and more high-performance board but it's less durable then polyurethane. EPS boards are glassed using epoxy resin which is less environmentally harmful than polyester resin and it's toxic offgassing.

Potif Jun 19, 2018 10:02 PM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

When I lived in Hawaii, MANY years ago, my surfboard was shaped out of polyurethane foam (related somehow chemically to styrofoam), and then covered with fiberglass. It was made especially for me by a Hawaiian. Not sure if I ever saw a surfboard made entirely of fiberglass.

Fitness1 Jun 19, 2018 08:38 PM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

Surfboards are generally fiberglass. A few 'low-end' companies make styrofoam for learning to surf type boards. And doubtful the manufacturing of those would be affected by this. This is for single-use food containers. Channel Islands surfboards would not be affected.

Flicka Jun 19, 2018 09:50 AM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

RHS & PKWW, thank you. I never had plastic straws growing up, they were paper and worked just fine. There was no Styrofoam but somehow life worked very well.

Potif Jun 19, 2018 05:10 PM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

I agree, the paper straws worked, 'for a while,' but often did come 'undone' after being in liquid for very long. Then they were just a long piece of curly paper ;)

BeachGuy Jun 19, 2018 06:47 AM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

Per Wikipedia: Styrofoam is a trademarked brand (Dow Chemical) of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam (XPS), commonly called "Blue Board" manufactured as foam continuous building insulation board used in walls, roofs, and foundations as thermal insulation and water barrier. If the actual ordinance just outlaws "styrofoam" cups then foam cups will continue to be used.

ZeroHawk Jun 18, 2018 03:00 PM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

both sides of this have good arguments...however...
"In a written statement, Hauser explained how Heal the Ocean is against these exemptions. She cited the Kokua Foundation in Hawaii who learned their local juice company, as well as Jamba Juice, use compostable cold cups made of PLA (plant-based Polylactic acid) – made of corn starch and sugar cane."

Yes i've used these cups. they literally disintegrate before you can finish the drink that you just paid for. The straws break down faster and when dealing with frozen product, the cup and straw have to be more rigid and firm. there is a reason it's not used widely. Seems most of the environmentalists just want to argue against it's use but offer no alternative. Would you prefer companies like blenders and jamba juice go out of business and we start slinging cornsyrup sodas again and roll back the clock to 1979? Think before you bark. Otherwise you're just making noise. I have been to these" 3rd world" nations. India is far from a 3rd world....they were moving about 1000s of years prior to the states forming. Plastic is a worldwide problem, not just Santa Barbara. Thinking Santa Barbara's potential ban would save something or help is a joke. We're a mere drop in the bucket. We are also not the first communities to consider this.

RHS Jun 19, 2018 08:59 AM
City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam

How about they use glass? How about people don't have to carry their food with them wherever they go? How about if people want to carry their food with them they bring their own reuseable containers? Or are these slight "sacrifices" too much for the me generation? uggghhh.

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